Sunday, 5 January 2014

Adelaide Birds

To kick off the new year, I'll continue with my Australia pictures. 
During the four days my family and I spent in Adelaide, we saw a 
bounty of birds, most of which I had never seen before; at least in 
the wild. To begin with, here's a lucky shot of one of the continent's 
most well known creatures, the Laughing Kookaburra. On many 
occasions I heard their raucous calls but I only saw the bird itself 
once. It is one of the largest kingfishers in the world, tying in with 
Africa's Giant Kingfisher.

It doesn't 'fish' though; the kookaburra's diet consists mainly of 
lizards, small rodents and even snakes. The most common bird in 
Adelaide was probably the telenocula subspecies of the pied 
Australian Magpie. These beautiful crows were everywhere, from 
outside our hotel to the countrysides. Their most remarkable feature 
was their song; a combination of metallic clinks, melodic gurgles and 
warbles. Good thing we didn't visit in Spring though, for they are 
known the swoop at people who unknowingly wander near their nests.

Magpie Larks looked rather like whiter miniature magpies but they 
are not at all related. This is a male and his two fledglings.

Another frequent sight was the lovely looking Crested Pigeon. They 
were often accompanied by the introduced spotted doves which are
native in Singapore. The crested pigeon is one of the two species of
the family to sport a quirky upright crest, the other being the smaller
Spinifex Pigeon, a resident of the more arid parts of the continent.

My trip to Australia would have been incomplete without seeing the
regions most diverse group of birds - the Honeyeaters. A familiar
sound in Adelaide was the penetrating squeaks of the aptly named
Noisy Miner. They were very sociable birds, often seen together
in large groups. I mostly saw them flying in and out of flowering 
trees, sometimes descending to the ground to forage too.

This one really had me excited - seeing my first gull, in the heart
of the city! The Silver Gull is the most common gull in Australia, most
likely because it is a successful scavenger. We also saw them in their
more natural habitat - by the coast at Cape Jervis. I love the contrast
of the red legs and beak against the clean white body.

The gulls weren't the only 'pests' whose presence was more than
welcome to me. I was thrilled to finally hear sweet the song of the 
Common Blackbird. I spotted them on a few occasions in the woods.
They were not so easy to see though; I had to strain my neck for 
quite some time, looking up into the trees, before managing to 
locate the origin of the song.

In the Mount Lofty Ranges by the Adelaide Hills, I heard the calls
of the Little Raven rather frequently. Whenever they made their
throaty 'ark's, they would loosely flick both wings upwards.

This charming little Brown Treecreeper appeared briefly in front of 
me at the summit of Mount Lofty, gliding to the bottom of each tree
then working its way up, foraging for insects. It's a pity that my only
record of it has the bird facing away.

Water birds were often seen around the lakes in the Botanic Gardens
as well as in the beautiful suburbs. The most common of them was
the Australian Wood Duck. I saw them in sizable congregations, one
group being at least fifty-birds-big.

Now, absolutely no post on Australian birds could go without 
featuring the most colourful and well known members of the avian
world, the parrots. It was amazing to see these birds flying swiftly
from tree to tree, screeching away. In Singapore there are a few
of native parrots but the species I saw in Adelaide were completely
different. The Eastern Rosella was a spectacular sight. I only saw
them a handful of times and this picture was taken when one flew
to the ground to forage.

While in Mount Lofty, I mostly encountered Adelaide Rosellas, the
South Australian form of the beautiful Crimson Rosella. I found this
odd bird amongst them and until just half an hour ago I was clueless
about its identity. Here's the fact that gave it away: the blue cheeked
rosellas have juveniles that are largely green. This fellow turned out 
to be just another immature Adelaide Rosella.

As a finale, I present the gaudiest of the gaudy, the Rainbow 
Lorikeet. There couldn't be a better name to describe this 
stunning species. They were quite often seen but had my blood
pumping every time one showed up. Surprisingly, they became
difficult to spot once they landed in a tree. Most of my sightings
of them were streaks of electric green flying past. However I
did manage to get up close with one on a lucky occasion.

Last but not least, a Rainbow Lorry drinking from the snake's mouth.

That's all for my Adelaide bird pictures. Next week I'll share the birds
I saw in the beautiful and unspoilt Kangaroo Island, which includes 
the one that I told myself I wouldn't leave Australia without seeing.


  1. What amazing birds. I have never thought of Australia as somewhere with such a variety. I should have, after all the mammals and flora is so different, why shouldn't the birds be!! The Rainbow Lorikeet is truly amazing.

  2. Well done Jonny!
    Great pics!
    I have seen all these birds both times I went to Australia, Blue Mountains, except the Adelaide parakeet.
    Fauna there is amazing!

  3. Hi Nick, the variety in Australia is amazing, especially if you're looking at the entire continent, where there are so many climatic zones.

  4. Noushka, thanks for coming by!!! Sydney isn't very far off from Adelaide, so I think the birds should be rather similar. The Adelaide rosella was really a show stopper. Thanks again. ;)